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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Prelude To The Main Event

This is essentially how I view the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

It is the not the main event, but we are given a ringside seat and a preview of how things will go, should the government pursue its case - is it cases? - against former President and current Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

(Photo courtesy of

You will recall that GMA appointed Corona to his current post, despite howls and cries on the legality of this appointment, of the "midnight variety". Father Joaquin Bernas, one of the framers of the Constitution, currently perceived as pro-Corona owing to the "rule of law" concept, says this in his Feb. 18, 2012 blogpost:

About two years ago I opposed the power of President Arroyo to appoint a Chief Justice during the two-month prohibited election period. I mentioned no names. I learned later that for that I won the ire of the current Chief Justice. She eventually did appoint him. I still believe it was wrong for her to exercise that power. But I am not the Supreme Court. 

(See more here:

His appointment as Chief Justice, and his response to that appointment, is the moment in time when he could have shown his moral fitness. Of course, we already know his answer.

The position of Chief Justice is unique in that it is the only "head" position (of one of the three branches of a democratic government) that is not elected by the people, but rather, appointed by the sitting President. Just to stress the oft repeated point by Father Bernas and other constitutional experts, GMA should NOT have appointed Corona at the twilight of her presidency, as there is a clear constitutional prohibition against this, during the time she did the appointment. (2 months before the national elections)

You cannot blame people for thinking that Corona will be doing all he "legally" can to ensure that should any case be filed against GMA in the Supreme Court he heads, owing his appointment to her, it will never prosper. The current tone and pace of the impeachment trial is the forerunner of what and how that scenario will unfold: technicalities to high heavens, TROs aplenty, a case where secrecy and hiding of documents seem to be the rule rather than exception, seeing as how it is "legal", "within the respondent's rights" and follows the "rule of law".

I do not know of any inquiry, scientific, legal or otherwise, where the facts/documentations/proof are hidden from scrutiny to arrive at an objective assessment, and more importantly, the truth.

Corona's lawyers are right in doing their job, that is to delay and defend their client at all costs. And, if we are to believe them, pro bono. I do not want to go into jokes about lawyers and their relationship with the concept of truth, we could be doing those until death. They are doing a marvelous job, and I would advise anyone who is facing a case right now to get the defense team services.

Oh, yes. GMA is facing those as well.

Another term has been bandied around, as to why the prosecution cannot admit any evidence. You want to talk about the "fruit of the poisoned tree"? Corona was appointed by GMA. She of the "Hello, Garci" scandal (and subsequent dubious "I'm sorry" speech), she who has close ties with the Ampatuans, she how was president when the ZTE scandal broke, the fertilizer scam surfaced.

She who appointed Corona at the midnight hour, against the Constitution.

Where were all these people then, the ones who cherish "the rule of law", who invoke it every time someone says anything about the Chief Justice?

That's one more term that has been thrown around like a badge of pride.

If the "rule of law" prevailed in 1986, Marcos is the legal and technical winner of the snap elections, duly declared by the Comelec then.

Since when did the letter of the law become superior to the spirit of the law?

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